A California man has been arrested and charged in Florida with threatening to kidnap and intimidate relatives and friends of students who were killed in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida in February.
Brandon Fleury of Santa Ana, California allegedly sent threatening messages using multiple Instagram accounts in what he told investigators was an attempt to “troll” victims and gain popularity, according to a criminal complaint filed in Florida.
Fleury allegedly admitted to investigators that he targeted family members who were activists and who had a large social media presence, according to the complaint.
Under the username “nikolas.killed.your.sister,” an apparent reference to Parkland shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz, Fleury sent messages in December to victims that said, “I killed your loved ones hahaha” and “With the power of my AR-15, I erased their existence.” He then added smiling, applause and handgun emojis.
On Christmas, Fleury allegedly sent a message to a victim stating, “I’m your abductor [smile and applauding emojis] I’m kidnapping you fool.”
He continued sending his menacing messages on New Year's Eve and into January, according to the complaint.
Authorities traced the messages to a California address and that's where the FBI found Fleury. He told investigators his messages were not threats but “more like taunts,” according to the complaint and he admitted to using his tablet computer to write the messages, court records said. The complaint also indicated he told the FBI that he had a fascination with mass shooters.
Fleury was scheduled to make an appearance on Jan. 28 before a federal magistrate in Fort Lauderdale.